In NASA have created a microchip capable of operating "in hell"

Test Camera GEER

You may also be surprised by the fact that it attracts Mars "interplanetary" account, while Venus, the second planet from the Sun, it would seem, is closer to the Earth. The thing is that this planet has the highest temperature of the surface of all the planets in the solar system. There's even hotter than Mercury. The high temperature in combination with the local solid caustic atmosphere does not allow any product on the world electronic device to operate in such conditions more than a few hours. Still, scientists seem to have come to the right solution to this problem.

In NASA have created a microchip capable of operating

of Engineers Aerospace agency NASA developed and tested a new computer chip capable of operating without any cooling system and containment at high pressure and high temperature, similar Venus medium. People do not run to Venus since 1982 landers (the last was a Russian module worked in tamoshnem "hell" just a little more than two hours), but according to NASA's plans, in 2023 to be sent to the rover. But it will not be able to realize this mission, if NASA does not receive a microprocessor capable of withstanding the ambient temperature to 464 degrees Celsius.

"If you look at the Mars mission, on the surface of the Red Planet has already visited many rovers, which gathered the most diverse scientific information. Unfortunately, we can not boast of the same in relation to Venus as electronics simply can not withstand the rigors of her "- says Philip Neudeck, an electronics engineer at NASA's John Glenn Research Center.

However, the planet contains many interesting features, which the scientists would like to find out more. For example, according to leading experts, information about the geological processes and supersaturated atmosphere of greenhouse gases would help researchers better understand similar processes here on Earth.

In order to understand how to create stable conditions for Venus computer chip, we need first of all to understand better certain aspects related to the production of semiconductors and transistors. Semiconductors - this is mainly metals, capable of transmitting an electrical current with high resistance than do conventional conductors. You can change the conductivity of semiconductors, which may make them useful as transistors. Transistors, in turn - they are like little "gate" facing the current path inside the chip, the opening and closing depending on the characteristics of the input current. The microchips which are an integral part of any modern computer, generally are an integral part chips with wires and transistors integrated into a single semiconductor.

Neudeck explains that the main problem for the microarray under a high temperature of Venus and its reactive atmosphere. Most computer chips are manufactured on a silicon base, but at high temperatures, the material starts to behave as a normal conductor, losing the properties of the semiconductor. The created command Noydek same chip consists of silicon carbide, capable even at high temperatures to preserve semiconductor properties microchip. In addition, the team also made sure that the interconnects (wires connecting all parts of the chip into a single unit), created on the basis of silicon, tantalum, too, will be able to withstand extreme temperatures.

In NASA have created a microchip capable of operating

integrated circuit before and after GEER test chamber

Created chip for transmitting the electrical signals, scientists have tested inside the installation chamber GEER (Glenn Extreme Environments Rig), which inherently is highly toxic at high pressure oven. Thanks to her, the researchers can create conditions similar to the conditions of the Venusian atmosphere. The microchip has been successfully tested: withstanding extreme temperatures and pressure, he continued to perform their job functions for more than 21 days.

Of course, very pleased that scientists have finally come to the right decision, but the "finest hour" while only just be for the technology. At the moment, the microchip is able to find room to all 24 of the transistor, which is comparable rather with a much older microchips rather than those that can be found in today's computers.

"We're somewhere in the" seventies, "if we consider the question of the complexity of our chip in terms of Moore's Law" - said Neudeck.

However, engineers have created a scheme in which there will be 100 transistors. And if you think about cases where the solar system effectively explored and used less sophisticated chips have been. In the end, apart from workable chips will solve no less important problems and issues. One such issue, for example, to provide a suitable surface for the study rover Venus. Yet Noydek hopes that one day his chips will be used in computers as part of space missions to Venus.

"No one has yet created circuits that can operate under such conditions and at such a temperature for such a long time. It really opens up new possibilities to perform missions at Venus. "